Micah Richards has been branded “brave” to stand up to a confrontation with frustrated Aston Villa supporters after the 1-1 FA Cup draw at Wycombe.
Richards battled to allay the protests of fans who criticised the Villa captain behind the dugout at Adams Park as Remi Garde’s side slipped to a draw with their League Two opponents.
The Premier League’s basement side took the lead through Richards’ early goal, only for Joe Jacobson to level from the penalty spot.
Villa boss Garde believes Richards was right to take the time to address the fans’ pitchside frustrations in person.
“It was brave of him to do that,” said Garde.
“As professionals we have to face our responsibilities – not only Micah, me and all the players.
“To be fair I didn’t see the incident, but I’ve been told about it.
“I understand that the fans could be angry. We have to accept that, as a player, a manager, everybody at the club has to accept that criticism, because we are not winning – that’s football.
“The situation with Aston Villa is very difficult and makes some silly things happen sometimes.
“Everybody has to keep calm, face their responsibilities, look in the mirror and ask themselves what they can do to get out of this difficult situation.”
Villa’s rowdy travelling contingent lambasted Garde for replacing stand-out midfielder Carles Gil, chanting “you don’t know what you’re doing”.
Frenchman Garde has now gone 10 matches without victory in his Villa career, with the extra fixture in the shape of the third round replay only adding to the pressure on the beleaguered boss.
Garde hinted he would quit if he felt he could not reverse Villa’s wretched form, but accepted he must quickly find victories.
“When you are not winning the manager is always making bad decisions,” said Garde, responding to criticism for withdrawing Gil.
“You can always argue it was a bad or good decision: I know what I’m doing but sometimes it’s not working.
“I know how it is in football, I’m not especially under pressure, but I’m not winning games.
“The day I don’t feel I’m able to do anything positive for this football club you will know it.”
Garde revealed Jack Grealish missed the Adams Park clash through tonsilitis, and expects the midfielder to also sit out Tuesday night’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace.
“He has been suffering with tonsilitis, he’s had a fever and he’s been taking antiobiotics,” said Garde of Grealish.
“It’s been quite serious, he hasn’t trained for a few days so it could be tough for the next match.”